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Snow storm strikes state

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe "Why do people always use a carrot for a snowman's nose?" asked Mikey Magana, 6, of Worthington, (right) as he and his brother Alex made a snowman during Saturday's snowfall in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- A mid-autumn storm slammed into Minnesota starting late Friday night, blanketing the state from its southwest corner all the way up to Duluth, leaving the Twin Cities a mess of traffic and causing one car to slide into a lake in Cottonwood County.

"The atmosphere was very conducive to producing heavy snowfall. That's what made travel so difficult," said Philip Schumacher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It snowed so hard it was able to stay on the roadways."

While Pipestone and Rock counties saw very little snow, most of the rest of southwest Minnesota reported cars in the ditch or at least a few collisions impacted by ice, slush or snow.

One vehicle slipped into Round Lake at 9 a.m. Saturday between Storden and Jeffers, but a passer-by pulled the driver out of the vehicle and a tow truck was called to get the vehicle out.

"We did not have to call in extra help," said Jay Elness, a dispatcher with Cottonwood County. "We're tough down here."

Elness reported there had been eight to 10 vehicles in the ditch on Minnesota 60, as well as a few on other roads in Cottonwood County.

Just to the west, a Murray County dispatcher reported there had been a few people sliding into the ditch on U.S. 59, but considering the amount of snow and that it was the first substantial snowfall for the region, Saturday had been mostly quiet.

Nobles County reported a few cars had gone into the ditch Saturday morning, including a collision with injuries, but noted that Saturday had not been an especially crazy day for local law enforcement and emergency personnel.

Jackson County had nothing to report, though the city of Jackson received the largest snowfall total in the area -- 7 inches, compared to 6 inches of snow in Windom, 5.8 inches near Lakefield and 5.5 in Worthington. Fulda and Slayton both received 4.0 inches of snow, and Adrian had 2.5 inches, with Pipestone garnering just a trace of snow.

Dickinson County, Iowa, reported a few cars in ditches due to the snow. A dispatcher for O'Brien County, Iowa, reported there had been a few minor accidents during and after the slushy snow fell. Osceola County also had a few collisions, but most were not attributed to the snow.

Southwest Iowa's snowfall totals also varied quite a bit, with areas near Alta and Arthur receiving 8 inches of snow, Storm Lake, Spirit Lake and Spencer receiving 6 inches, Melvin and Ocheyedan getting 4 inches and Sheldon receiving just 1 inch of snow. Sioux City, Iowa, got only trace snowfall, and Sioux Falls, S.D., recorded none at all.

Despite the snow's effect on travelers and how suddenly it seemed to overtake the area, it did not set any records in the southwest Minnesota-northwest Iowa region.

"It's not completely unusual to get snow at this time of year," Schumacher said. "Back in 1998, in Sioux Falls, we had a foot of snow right on Veterans Day, and of course back in 1991 was the Halloween storm."

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